New drug testing tool to be rolled out for frontline police

Source: 1News

A new drug scanning tool is being rolled out for frontline police in a bid to save time and resources during warrantless searches for drugs.

Lumi drug scanning tool

The tool, named Lumi, can immediately identify with 95% accuracy if an unknown substance in clear plastic packaging is methamphetamine, cocaine or MDMA.

Commissioner Lauano Sue Schwalger says this will provide police with better information about how to handle those found with drugs.

Schwalger said it means negative drug samples wouldn’t require further evidential testing and reduces the need for an officer to bring someone in for further questioning.

"Lumi has been co-designed by police and Environmental Science and Research (ESR), following a police need to more effectively test unknown substances in the field, and reduce the risk for officers handling them.

"The hand-held devices have been built to detect methamphetamine, cocaine or MDMA – the three most prominent illicit substances affecting community drug harm," Schwalger said.

READ MORE: Exclusive look at NZ’s early-warning system for dangerous drugs

Schwalger said 150 Lumi devices will be rolled out to police districts over the next two months.

"Lumi also allows police district leadership to better identify harmful drug hotspots and trends, and help planning to deploy resources to where they’re needed most," she said.

The rollout will continue to be evaluated by police with the possibility of developing Lumi devices to identify other substances.

Police said Lumi won’t replace other drug and alcohol testing devices.